I notice that in every book I have always start a new chapter in an odd page and it leads me to wonder why.

I have some written work that's about 40 pages long and 7 chapters; should I follow that rule?

If I do, the reader will definitely see blank pages before the start of a new chapter occasionally.

Why do new chapters in books usually start on an odd page?


1 Answer 1


It's recommended to start new chapters on the recto page of a manuscript, as it establishes a predictable flow for the reader to follow. The resulting occasional blank pages are actually a part of establishing this rhythm, making the divisions between chapters even more distinct. This recommendation is listed in rule 1.48 requires login of the Chicago Manual of Style.

The recto page is considered the front of each leaf, and is the right-hand page when dealing left-to-right languages.

You can find interesting discussions on the various options and arguments for starting chapters at Five Rainbows and Ask MetaFilter.

  • I couldn't find a better source for the CMoS rule, but the book should be freely available in the reference section of most libraries, though I highly recommend purchasing it if you intend to set any amount of text in a semi-professional manner.
    – justin
    Jul 12, 2014 at 15:25
  • 2
    "The usability of a system is improved when similar parts are expressed in similar ways." For one, it's much easier to flick through a book to find a chapter if you know which side to look for the start of the chapter on.
    – Dom
    Jul 12, 2014 at 15:50
  • 1
    @justinthrelkeld: I read somewhere that the book of Robin William: The Non-Designer's Design Book is also a very good one. Have you read it? Which one do you prefer?
    – Ooker
    Jul 12, 2014 at 16:11
  • @Ooker The Non-designer's Design Book is an alright resource too. Though it's much more general and basic than CMoS. I had it assigned during one of my university courses and ended up selling it because it wasn't as useful as other books. If you'd like, I can point you to a list of the books I keep on my shelf and a summary of why I keep them around.
    – justin
    Jul 12, 2014 at 16:49
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    @Ooker: if you're still interested, I finally published my list of books I keep around: justinthrelkeld.github.io/designbooks — feel free to contact me via other channels if you have questions (before this gets too terribly off-topic).
    – justin
    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:00

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